Ex-cite an unconference on Citation in Digital Environment

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					        “Ex-cite: an unconference on Citation in Digital Environment”
                        DigitalPreservationEurope Workshop
     Florence, Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, December 16th, 2006

Nicola Benvenuti, University of Florence, Italy
Giovanni Bergamin, National Central Library, Florence, Italy
Paolo Buonora, Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Rome, Italy
Vito Cappellini, University of Florence, Italy
Chiara Cirinna, Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale, Florence, Italy
Angela Di Iorio, University of Rome 3, Italy
Elisabeth Dulabahn, Library of Congress, Washington
Federica Giacobbe, Italy
Alessandra Giovenco, Libraries and Archives, The British School at Rome, Italy
Francesco Greco, Italy
Jan Hutar, National Library, Czech Republic
Perla Innocenti, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy
Ruggero Lancia, Italy
Maurizio Lunghi, Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale, Florence, Italy
Leonardo Mani, Audio Mani Servicing, Italy
Marzia Miele, Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, Rome, Italy
Valdo Pasqui, University of Florence, Italy
Dariusz Paradowski, National Library, Poland
Bendis Pustina, General Directorate of Archives, Albania
Riccardo Ridi, Università Ca’ Foscari, Venice, Italy
Seamus Ross, HATII, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
Agris Spiss, National Library,Lithuania
Stefan Strathmann, University of Göttingen, Germany
Uros Skerl, journalist, Slovenia
Anna Maria Tammaro, University of Parma, Italy
Titia Van Der Werf , International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

In today’s digital environment scholarly publications are increasingly reliant on networked sources (e. g.
through web citations or URLs). The problem of stability and persistency with these resources over time is
well established. This causes serious problems in ensuring veracity in the field of referenced citations in
scholarly research.

These issues relating to citation in the digital environment were discussed in a DPE Workshop, which took
the innovative form of an unconference . The discussions were lead by Professor Seamus Ross. The focus
of the Workshop was to investigate and discuss how the instability of Web resources, and the corresponding
lack of reliability for Web resources citations, can affect the evaluation of scientific work. The possibilities of
digital preservation procedures addressing these issues were also a main focus for the Workshop.


The following is a synthesis of the discussed topics:
   • Relationships between different citation styles or systems. For example between bibliographical
         citations (pointing out the importance of users’ information literacy for improving their skills of finding
         and evaluating the documents’ quality), and citations by locations, through Open URL systems,
         rather than URL or URI.
   • The minimal attributes for citations. For example in an Open URL context: domain, defined as the
         context of responsibilities for publishing, authorship, content, date, size.
   • What is a document? The “nature” of a document affects citation styles and systems: the definition
         of digital resource is broader than that of paper-based resources. In addition to this digital
         documents are significantly different: a digital document can be continually changed and updated.
   • The nature of documents. A document is a file, a sequence of bits stream. A pragmatic approach is
         needed as everything can be a digital resource. A service-oriented architecture (SOAP; RTF) seems
         more suitable than a hierarchical approach adopted by traditional Library Management Systems.
   • The role of cultural institutions. Trustworthiness of digital repositories is essential.
   • Trust in authorship in the digital domain. Authorship is changing but readers need still need to trust
   • Both authors and readers need validation of knowledge, assurance of actually finding the cited
         documents, certification of repositories, information about moving of files or changes in their content.
   • The relationship between text permanence and document transformations.
   • The role of semantic webs and ontology in knowledge organisation.
   • The role of search engines and good metadata in finding documents.
   • The role of legal deposit rules and practices.
   • The new shared and collective forms of creating knowledge and content. This could become a
         revolutionary environment for citation rules and practices. Traditionally the evaluation of scientific
         work is closely related to the citation system. However in open web communities new shared and
         collective quality control systems are emerging.

At the end of the unconference all participants were asked to summarise which issues essentially
characterise the domain of "Citation in digital environment".

The most common themes identified in the responses received were the role of trusted repositories for
certification, preservation, selection criteria, the development of services to act as persistent ID
generators/resolvers, in legal deposit and in the legal framework to certify the digital document’s integrity and

Related to these themes are the user-focused issues that were raised. For example the availability of tools
and services for researchers at the time of citation, which could be provided by trusted repositories. Other
user-focused issues raised were information literacy skills and the needs and expectations of users and how
these evolve over time.

In addition to this the specific attributes for citations in the digital environment was highlighted. Issues such
as the ability to verify citations across space and time, citation reference linking based on NISO OpenURL
and persistent identifiers were identified.

Finally the developing topics of automatic generation of machine-readable citations and collaborative user
approaches were also prominent issues amongst the responses from the workshop participants.

16 December 2006

                                                        Report based on materials provided by A. Tammaro and M. Messina